The Star’s staff is unionizing after hedge fund owner breaks promise not to cut jobs

Martin Cizmar

The Kansas City Star‘s staff announced a unionization effort on Monday, citing cuts to the beleaguered broadsheet that were made in violation of the owner’s promise to a bankruptcy court judge.

The Kansas City News Guild says that it has signed union authorization cards for “the overwhelming majority” of the forty eligible members but is hoping to get voluntary recognition first.

Today, “the union organizing committee presented local management with the request for voluntary recognition.”

Kansas City reached out to the Star’s president and editor, Mike Fannin for comment via email, which was not immediately returned.

Star staffers have been changing their Twitter profile pictures to the new guild’s logo today, in what’s become a customary sign of solidarity in the current wave of media unionization drives across the country. The union will organize under the umbrella of the NewsGuild-CWA (full disclosure: I’ve been represented by that guild in two different jobs).

The paper and the rest of the once-mighty McClatchy chain is owned by Chatham Asset Management, a Hedge fund based in New Jersey.

“Chatham told the bankruptcy judge the new, privately owned McClatchy would not make job cuts its first year,” the union said in a statement. “But that has already taken place in parts of the company. Some of those changes might not have happened had our union had a seat at the table.”

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